Last week we began a discussion about ways to best utilize your external flash. Let's continue talking about making the most out of this valuable piece of photography lighting equipment. The previous post centered around bouncing and reflecting light. What if you need the light to be more directional, you need more control? Then you must diffuse it. A diffuser attached to the flash is required. It's basically a translucent piece of plastic that attaches to the flash tube, creating a much softer light on the subject. Some flashes might come with a diffuser panel built-in or come with one to snap on. If not, no worries. There are plenty of diffusers on SuperDigitalCity.com.
Sometimes you don't need any extra accessories; just manipulate the settings on the camera or flash. You can reduce the amount of light from the flash by lowering the flash exposure compensation, or dial it up a bit if you need more –depending on what you are photographing. Take advantage of the flash's power output while still utilizing the flash's automatic metering.
Lastly, take your external flash off the camera for a change. There is only so much you can do with it in the same position atop your camera. Check if the flash is wireless first, otherwise you will need an off-camera hot-shoe cord. (Wireless will give you a greater range, naturally.) Experiment moving the flash around to see how it affects your photographs.